A group of 40 students from a school in Rosario had a lucky escape on Tuesday night after they found themselves in the middle of a gunfight while waiting at a petrol station.
The students were waiting to embark upon their graduation trip. Incredibly, only one serious injury was reported after the shoot-out: a student who was shot in the leg and received hospital treatment but who is now out of danger.
Police believe that the petrol station itself was the target and discovered a threatening note addressed to a crime prosecutor at the site of the incident.
According to witness reports, the attack was perpetrated by figures travelling on two motorbikes. Upon opening fire chaos reigned, with the students seeking safety. Cries of pain could be heard after one of the youths was hit in the leg and police and ambulance services were quickly onsite. By then the assailants had already left.
Minutes afterwards, the young man who had been shot in the leg was taken to the Clemente Álvarez Hospital, where he received treatment.
In the meantime, the police searched the site and discovered a threatening note addressed to local prosecutor Matías Edery, who had already been threatened on several occasions.
Local reports say prosecutors are now investigating the incident and the mafia message linked to drug-dealing.
Minutes after the attack, two people were arrested, police and judicial sources said. Their appearance reportedly matched the descriptions provided by witnesses of the alleged assailants.
The event took place just days after a series of violent incidents in the city. The most eye-catching was the murder of intelligence officer César Eduardo Carmona, from the AIC Criminal Investigation Agency in Rosario, just last week.
Rosario is one of Argentina's most violent cities. With a population of 1.3 million, it suffers from a homicide rate of 22 per 100,000 inhabitants – five times the national average.